Meet Wally, the Emotional Support Alligator Who Enjoys Watching TV

The reptile's favorite shows are, naturally, "Gator Guys" and "Swamp Boys."

Emotional support alligator
How a young alligator became one man's emotional support pet. (Getty Images)
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Wally is the faithful companion of Joie Henney, a resident of the Glatfelter Community Center in York County, Pennsylvania.

The four-and-a-half-foot long emotional support alligator is leash-trained and “a pretty mellow reptile [who] likes people in the companionship way, not the potential food way,” according to The Morning Call.

Three-year-old Wally acts just like a dog, Henney told the news site. “He wants to be loved and petted.”

The self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie says he was drawn to reptiles as a child when a friend of his came into ownership of a Gaboon viper, one of the most poisonous snakes on the planet. “I’m not a dog person. I had venomous snakes,” Henney explained.

Another friend of Henney’s, who rescues alligators in Florida, gave him a call about three years ago to ask if he’d like one for himself. Henney did, of course.

That’s when Wally came into his life—as a 14-month-old “pup” who, according to Henney, was afraid of everything and constantly needed to be picked up and consoled. Now, Wally enjoys watching TV with his human and his favorite shows, perhaps not surprisingly, are Gator Guys and Swamp Boys.

But Henney recognizes that Wally is a wild animal,  emphasizing that you still must be careful around him. And in admitting Wally’s more ferocious side, Henney feels an obligation to teach others, like other seniors in neighboring living facilities and kids in area schools, about conservation.

In doing so, Henney said he noticed a calm that Wally brought to his pupils and himself. So he wondered, if a donkey or a ferret could be an emotional support animal, why not an alligator? And now a recent ruling on the Americans with Disabilities Act agrees with him.

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